The City of Palo Alto, CA concludes that grocery stores are a lynchpin of walkable neighborhoods, and votes to establish new "grocery" zoning districts.
Spurred by the potential closure of JJ&F Market, the Palo Alto Planning and Transportation Commission has launched an effort to retain, and encourage, grocery stores. Midsize grocery stores accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians are key components of a thriving community, the commissioners agreed Wednesday night.
"We all do eat," Commissioner Lee Lippert said.
But grocery stores are akin to residences for low-income families, important but also hard to build and operate at a profit "unless there are some really, strong incentives," Lippert said.
The commission voted unanimously Wednesday night to investigate creating a new zoning designation: "G" for grocery. The G would be added as a "combining district" to existing zones, such as neighborhood commercial, to either require or provide incentives for property owners to include new or retain existing grocery stores.
The commission intends to flesh out the details of the proposal at an upcoming study session, Assistant City Attorney Donald Larkin said.